There are two classic novels in the annals of Fine Literature that allude to the personal, emotional and political angst of an entire generation shortly after the two World Wars. They are Orwell’s “1984” and Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises.” One directs its attention to the literal and figurative scars and trauma of The Great War in the behaviors of the major characters .The other envisions a bombed out world of totalitarian nihilism in the political constructs of a Bureaucratic Socialism during the aftermath of Nazi Germany. Both deal with the tolls taken from the harshness and horror of mechanized warfare on a grand scale. I will reference one here, and the other later in the month.
THE SUN ALSO RISES: Earnest Hemmingway, 1926
Right out of the gate, Hemingway’s first novel, after a life of short story writing, won him the Nobel Prize in Literature. This is a dramatic study of “The Lost Generation,” a term coined by Gertrude Stein. The pain that came from an embittered global war left many people with a sense of moral bankruptcy and hopelessness in a world they perceived as having no meaning. It was the time of Sartre and Camus at the height of Existential Nihilism.
The characters are either American or British expatriates living the good life abroad. None of them like staying in the same place for an extended period of time due to an uneasy restlessness and the fact that they devour their stay with heavy drinking and shallow, nonsensical actions (like the running with the bulls at Pamplona). These were the truly ugly, ugly Americans.
The most tragic of the characters are Jake and Brett, who love each other dearly, but can never consummate their love due to a war wound that has left Jake impotent. Her search for love leads her to a bull fighter in Spain, but it, like her other relationships, leaves Brett feeling unfulfilled. Jake understands her plight, but cannot help but feel heartbroken for both of them, when she always returns to be with him. She had been a nurse and lost her husband to the war.
The character Mike had gained his inhuman-like drinking ability from his service in the war. And Cohn, the journalist, is seemingly unaffected by war. The others resent him for not having to deal with his problems by drinking. Yet, he too suffers from pretense, particularly in his love affairs that also go awry, as he makes a fool of himself thinking he has a chance with Brett.
What really strikes me as masterful is Hemingway’s ability to go deep inside each of these characters, no matter how shallow they all seem. They come alive out of his pages in the dearth of the personages they really are from the war wounds received. As robust a man as Hemingway was, I find him experimenting with his own sense of personal wonder as to how he would deal with an affliction, like impotence. In the end, he leave us all with an understanding of their common fate, and hints at it from another title about the Spanish Civil War written much later, “For Whom the Bell Tolls.”
The title itself is from Ecclesiastes: “The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose”. It is a metaphor of the fact that life will prevail no matter what hardships the world offers up. This was the novel that inspired me to become a writer.
The Resident Scholar - Doug Taylor
Matt Sayles, Dave White, Rick Clemens and Mark Parson combine their decades of musical experience into a thrilling musical ensemble that harkens back to a time when jazz bands featured banjo and bluegrass music. It was an excting new sound.
Ventucky String Band, formed in 2010, will make you tap your toes and clap your hands to music reminiscent of dust-bowl era California and the roots of the "California Country" sound.
Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the season, come on down and bring the family.
We have been hearing great feedback about our new streaming video collection: Access Video On Demand (AVOD). Our collection covers a wide range of subjects with quality content, both archival and current.
AVOD features streaming video from outstanding producers and broadcasters, including BBC, PBS, Biography, History Channel, National Geographic, Rick Steves and hundreds more! AVOD offers thousands of videos with more added every month.
AVOD is iPad, Android, PC and Mac friendly! Closed-captioning and interactive transcripts are available on thousands of titles. Additionally, students will find citations in Chicago, MLA, and APA styles.
Give it a try! All our eLibrary resources are free to you with your library card!
Ventura County Library and Ventura County First 5 have partnered to help young children obtain their first library card.
During the month of November, any child that is 5 years old or younger, who receives their first Ventura County Library card will also receive a complimentary brightly colored, canvas READ bag to carry home their library books.
Stop in any of our 12 branch locations and join us. This promotion will run through November or until supplies last.
Tickets for the special advance, pre-release, benefit screening for San Buenaventura Friends of the Library (SBFOL) and the Ventura Film Society may be purchased at the following outlets: Trufflehound’s Fine Chocolates, Palermo, The Refill Shoppe B. on Main, and at the offices of the Ventura Visitors & Convention Bureau (101 S. California St., Ventura).
Please note! The remaining tickets are $90 “Library Benefit” ticket, which includes: pre-screening discussion, Screening and After-Party at Watermark Restaurant, 6-8pm.
Imagine Albert Einstein as he explains the Theory of Relativity in a fun, exciting way without mathematics or a knowledge of physics required.
This show will excite students and adults alike to look at workings of the universe with new eyes. We hope you find the time to come to see the show!
This event is sponsored by the Simi Valley Friends of the Library
Three mystery authors explore the challenges of plotting the perfect crime - then solving it.
Trivia lovers: come test your mind! Join us at the 24th Annual Trivia Challenge - a night of fun supporting READ Ventura County Library Adult Literacy Program.
The 24th Annual Trivia Challenge is Thursday, November 15th at 6pm at the Wedgewood Banquet Center at 5880 Olivas Park Drive, in Ventura 93003. Only $5 admission for audience members. Come and enjoy hors d'oeuvres, a no-host bar and an Opportunity Drawing!
Did you know Ventura County Library has over 5000 eaudiobooks just waiting for you to download? And, there's no waiting: all titles are ipod compatible and available at all times!
Recorded Books offers free webinars on OneClickdigital's features. The next training webinar is offered:
The 1 hour program also includes a complete tour of the service and will show you how to create an account, install the OneClickdigital Media Manager, search for content, manage checkouts, and download and transfer audiobooks to listening devices.
Recorded Books will continue to provide training webinars throughout the year. As new webinars are scheduled, the dates and times will be available here (scroll to the bottom - under "Product Demonstration for Patrons").